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    16 Historical Fiction Books Coming Out In 2022 That Are 100% Worth Picking Up

    Winter gloom is no match for a good book.

    1. The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes

    Kensington Publishing Corp.

    Release date: Dec. 28, 2021

    Puri inherited her love of chocolate from her father, but it isn't until his passing that she learns he also gifted her with a cocoa estate in Ecuador. Happy to start a new life following World War I, she and her husband, Cristóbal, head across the Atlantic to claim her inheritance, but it soon becomes clear that someone isn't happy about Puri's newfound livelihood. Aboard the ship, a murderer for hire accidentally kills Cristóbal instead of Puri, forcing her to don her husband's clothes and identity. As a man, she is able to live more freely in Ecuador while she searches for clues as to who is out to kill her, but family secrets, long-lost siblings, and a new romance threaten her plans. 

    Why you should read it: This historical fiction is as rich as dark chocolate, featuring intrigue, romance, and a plethora of historical nods that will delight any history buff.

    Get it from Bookshop or a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    2. All of You Every Single One by Beatrice Hitchman

    Harry N. Abrams

    Release date: Jan. 4

    An intertwined and ever-weaving story about queer people thriving and surviving in 1900s Vienna. We meet Julia, who flees an unhappy marriage to begin living with Eve, a butch tailor. Their romance leads to a queer safe haven community, but Julia's desperation to have a baby quickly throws a wrench in her and Eve's relationship. Meanwhile, young Ada is sent to Dr. Freud (yes, that one) to cure her mutism, but she's more focused on the crush she has on her closeted cousin's sweet-natured wife. As Hitchman moves us across decades, we see Vienna, politics, and life as a queer person change for each of these characters. 

    Why you should read it: It's a novel about found family, the consequences of decisions, and how far we'll go for love — especially in an age of oppression.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    3. My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen

    Harperteen

    Release date: Jan. 11

    A speculative historical novel full of charm, food, and a dash of romance. In 1830s England, Culinarians — essentially culinary artists — are sought after by elite society for their foodie creations. Helena and Penelope are two aspiring Culinarians; Helena is at the top of her class in the academy, where most fear her sharp attitude and perfect palate, while Penelope is ostracized for both her Filipina heritage and desire to bring non-European cuisine into the forefront. When they meet Elijah, an orphan with a unique (and delicious) offering, they decide to transform him from street vendor to chef du jour. But plans don't always go according to a recipe...

    Why you should read it: This fun romp of a novel is like a delicious bite you'll want to savor but can't help but devour. Devote an entire weekend to this one! 

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    4. Yonder by Jabari Asim

    Simon & Schuster

    Release date: Jan. 11

    The Stolen may be forced to learn their captors' language, follow their beliefs, and work their labor, but they keep their own tongue, culture, and empathy alive. This is the story of a 19th-century plantation, where we meet a cast of characters full of love, sorrow, anger, and hope. There's William, who falls for Margaret, which makes Cato remember his own love who was sold off without warning. And there's their eccentric and tyrannical owner, Cannonball Greene, who rules their lives with a cruel hand. When a mysterious preacher arrives spouting independence and freedom, the Stolen must decide: Trust this stranger or stay with the devil they know? 

    Why you should read it: This slim novel packs a gut-wrenching punch, managing to display the effortless cruelty of life on a plantation with the gentle caress of each character's humanity.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    5. The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

    Dutton Books

    Release date: Jan. 25

    Lillian (alias Angelica) has been working as one of the hottest models of the 1910s, her figure practically everywhere you looked in New York. But when her mother dies of the Spanish flu, Lillian is left heartbroken. With work drying up and a scandal looming over her head, she gets a job as a secretary to the demanding heiress Helen Frick, whose family holds dark secrets — think stolen jewels and romantic affairs — that will soon entangle Lillian's life. Meanwhile, in the 1950s, we meet Veronica, an English model trying to create a life in the States when she stumbles upon a series of hidden messages in the Frick House — now a museum — that could lead to Veronica's financial freedom...and potentially solve a vintage murder. 

    Why you should read it: A book that's as beautiful as it is mysterious. The dual POV keeps the reader on their toes until the entire story comes together.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    6. Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal

    Atria Books

    Release date: Feb. 1

    Nine-year-old Nell is covered head to toe in birthmarks, which makes her a social outcast in her small 1860s village, but an asset to Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders. When Nell's father drunkenly sells her to Jasper Jupiter himself, she is transformed into the star of the show — quite literally billed as "the Queen of the Moon and Stars." Jasper is eccentric and narcissistic, thriving off of his fame, but his sensitive brother, Toby, becomes Nell's friend and then lover. Their relationship is sweet and tender, unlike that between Nell and Jasper, who begins to resent her as her fame soon eclipses his. 

    Why you should read it: Come for the wondrous circus setting, stay for Nell's epic arc from a shy, ostracized girl to a woman who knows her worth.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    7. Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston

    Tordotcom

    Release date: Feb. 1

    This speculative history takes place at the turn of the 20th century, when the magic of moving pictures has taken ahold of America. But the real magic lies in people like Redwood, a Black woman whose inherited hoodoo powers (and fiery confidence) scare the neighbors in her small Georgia town. After her mother is murdered by a racist mob, Redwood and her Irish Indigenous friend, Aidan Wildfire Cooper, flee to find a place where neither has to hide their roots. As they make their way to Chicago, they use their combined magic to perform, because the love of storytelling is stronger than the need for safety. 

    Why you should read it: This is a tender but explosive novel about friendship, magic, and the pain and power that come with not belonging.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    8. A Lullaby for Witches by Hester Fox

    Graydon House

    Release date: Feb. 1

    Margaret Harlowe felt more called to the wild woods of her family's estate than to the parlors and finery expected of a woman of her status. Soon, rumors about her mysterious beauty, power, and wildness had the townspeople crying "witch," and her powers only grew darker. A century and a half later, Augusta Podos takes a job at Harlowe House, an old family estate turned museum. But when she discovers the inklings of Margaret's past that history hasn't been able to expunge, she goes searching for more on the mysterious woman. But digging deeper uncovers a dark and twisted link between the two women — one that Augusta will have to break in order to survive. 

    Why you should read it: A spine-tingling blend of paranormal and historical fiction that feels gothic, gloomy, and perfect for winter.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    9. When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O'Neill

    Riverhead Books

    Release date: Feb. 8

    A coming-of-age story about the intense and toxic friendship between two young women in the late 1800s. Marie Antoine is spoiled and enigmatic, the heiress of a sugar factory; Sadie grew up poor but has just moved into Marie's wealthy neighborhood so her brother — her parents' favorite — can move up in society. When these two meet, the course of their lives will change. Their friendship centers on an immediate, fervent love for each other that borders on obsession. The book follows Marie and Sadie as they navigate life — both together and apart — from finishing school to brothels to life in a factory. 

    Why you should read it: It's a twisted, perverse story that's difficult to put down, like a car crash you can't look away from. You may not like the characters, but you'll be desperate to know what they do next. 

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    10. The Great Mrs. Elias by Barbara Chase-Riboud

    Amistad Press

    Release date: Feb. 8

    A fictional novel about the true events surrounding Hannah Elias, one of the wealthiest Black women in 1900s America. When a murder and mistaken identity bring police to Hannah's lavish 20-room mansion in New York, the life she's worked hard to build — and the past she's tried to forget — begin to unravel. Switching through Hannah's past and present, we discover the secret skeletons lurking in her childhood and the things she had to do to earn the life she now lives. But now, her identity revealed to the public, she's ensnared in scandal, protests, and accusations of blackmail. 

    Why you should read it: This tragic historical fiction is gilded in glitz, drama, and suspense. 

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    11. A Perfect Equation by Elizabeth Everett

    Berkley Books

    Release date: Feb. 15

    Letty is perfectly happy being a spinster if it means she can continue running the only ladies' social club in London...that's also secretly a retreat for female scientists and mathematicians. But keeping this huge secret from exploding (literally) requires a partner: Viscount Greycliff. The two don't get along, despite obvious sparks, and their relationship takes a turn when Grey shuts down the club in order to please an anti-feminist men's group who vow to help him get ahead in society. Letty is forced to abandon her work to convince him to reopen the club, and as they spend more time together, their chemistry deepens. But love gets in the way of both of them getting what they want.

    Why you should read it: A light and fun historical romance that has deeply feminist roots but still knows how to titillate. 

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    12. The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah

    Carolrhoda Lab

    Release date: March 1

    Following a violent raid, twin sisters Hassana and Husseina are separated, both forced on different journeys that will take them to new countries and cultures, but always separated by the ocean between them. We follow the twins throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries as they try to survive these new lives: escaping from danger, finding new family, and discovering their place in the world. At night, they dream of the ocean and its connection to each of them, both desperate for the moment they will finally be reunited. 

    Why you should read it: This sweeping saga is a heartache of grief, loss, faith, and the life-altering consequences of slavery and colonization.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    13. The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers

    William Morrow & Co

    Release date: March 1

    In this coming-of-age novel set in 1946 North Carolina, we meet Maddie, an aspiring seamstress who has just arrived in Bright Leaf — the tobacco capital — to work in her aunt's shop. But when her aunt falls sick, Maddie suddenly becomes the seamstress to Big Tobacco's wealthiest wives, who generously take her in. Maddie is transfixed by the glitz and glam of this bustling city — until she discovers a dark and unsettling truth about Big Tobacco's latest initiative. Maddie has to decide whether to reveal what she knows and risk the town's livelihood, or keep this secret and risk their lives. 

    Why you should read it: A vibrant and warm book that feels easy to pick up and hard to put down.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    14. Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr

    Harper

    Release date: March 1

    A tantalizing and thrilling novel about a painting stolen 75 years ago and the two women determined to get it back. Journalist Jules Roth has been tasked with tracking down a painting stolen by Nazis in the 1930s: “The Woman on Fire.” Meanwhile, in Europe, heiress art collector Margaux de Laurent has her eyes on finding the prized portrait — by any means necessary. Luckily, Jules has her own resources, including Adam Baum, the grandson of the man who hired Jules. As the novel jumps across the world and back in time, we learn more about this elusive painting and the heated hunt to get it back. 

    Why you should read it: Part thriller, part historical fiction, this book will have you gripping the pages until the very end.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    15. The White Girl by Tony Birch

    Harpervia

    Release date: March 15

    Odette Brown is a Black Indigenous woman living in the same small Australian town she's lived in her entire life. When her daughter abandons her light-skinned daughter, Odette takes her in; by the 1960s, Sissy is 13 years old and Odette's health is failing. But things take a terrifying turn when a new police officer comes to town, determined to execute the racist law (based on real '60s-era policies) that removes light-skinned Aboriginal children from their darker-skinned families. Odette will have to protect Sissy at all costs, and hopefully even discover the truth about her missing daughter along the way. 

    Why you should read it: Birch draws from his Indigenous background to craft a story that's both heartbreaking and hopeful and focuses on the strength that comes from a family's love.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    16. Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

    Little, Brown and Co.

    Release date: March 15

    In 1938 China, Meilin's life is dismantled when her husband dies in the war and she and her young son, Renshu, are forced to flee the approaching Japanese army. Meilin summons immense courage in order to save her son as they travel across a war-torn country, fueled by ancient fables offering wisdom and solace. Decades later, Renshu has settled in American as Henry, a father who refuses to talk about his traumatic past, despite the pleas from his daughter, who is desperate to understand her heritage. 

    Why you should read it: Spanning nearly 70 years and multiple countries, this is a moving, epic saga of a family's struggle to survive war, racism, and generational trauma.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a bookstore near you via Indiebound.

    Which book are you most excited to read?